Check out this great Q&A interview with Jane Lynch from Disney's Wreck-It Ralph (out on Blu ray & DVD now). What was it like to hear her voice come out of Sergeant Calhoun's mouth? What does she like about voice acting work? What are her thoughts on Sergeant Calhoun's haircut? Find out the answers to these questions and more below!
How did you get involved with Wreck-It Ralph?
John Lasseter invited a group of us to go to San Francisco to read through the script about two and a half years ago. I’m a huge fan of John Lasseter, so I went up there and I read the script with everyone – and I loved it.
Which actors were at the read through?
This was before John C. Reilly came onboard, so it was Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, me, and a bunch of great character voice actors. We started recording within about six months and it’s been great. Plus, it’s a Disney movie and the reality of that is slowly dawning on me. This will be on the same shelf as The Aristocats, Jungle Book and Cinderella. That’s pretty amazing.
How does it feel to hear your voice come out of an animated character like Sergeant Calhoun?
It’s mind blowing. Imagine it for yourself… Your voice coming out of the mouth of a gorgeous, hot woman. I love it. She’s just like me 20 years ago with a kickass body.
Did you have recording sessions with any other actors from the movie?
I basically recorded my voice alone in the booth, although I worked with Jack McBrayer one day and I also worked with John C. Reilly one day. I know John worked with Sarah a lot, and you can hear it in the movie. It sounds like they’re in the same room; it’s terrific. You know what? I loved it when we got to improvise during our sessions.
Your character has a lot of scenes with Jack McBrayer’s character. Why didn’t you work with him in the sound booth more?
Jack was in New York and I was in Los Angeles. I think that might have been the reason. Also, I have never done an animated movie or a cartoon where the cast has recorded in the same room together, except for Handy Manny. We were all in the same room for that, but I think it’s technically easier for them to put it altogether themselves. They can control the chemistry, and they do it very well. Just look at all of the other Disney movies.
Which scenes did you record together with Jack McBrayer?
We recorded the Nestle Quiksand scene together. We recorded that looking at each other, which was a lot of fun. When you can get two actors in the same room, you are going to get more spontaneous and you are going to get more chemistry. It’s fun to be in the same room and to bounce off each other.
How much input did you have into your character?
[Wreck-It Ralph director] Rich Moore is the nicest man in the world and he encouraged us to improvise all the time. He would say, “If this line doesn’t feel right in your mouth, pick another way to say it.” They were really open for it to be our own voice – but the writing, especially as the script progressed, became more and more our voices. The characters also started to look more and more like us because they videotaped us while we recorded our lines. They are geniuses over there at Disney. They really allowed themselves to be moved by and shaped by whatever they saw on the videotapes of our sessions. It was pretty amazing.
What surprised you the most about the animation process?
I guess I was surprised at how much my character ended up looking like me. Not that my body looks like that! Sergeant Calhoun moves her mouth in a certain way, which is exactly how I talk.
What did your character look like when you first signed up for the project?
She looked a little generic back then; she didn’t look like me. I think she was always a blonde, but she wasn’t that curvaceous. That haircut is new, too. What a cute little bob
Did anything else surprise you about the movie?
I knew the movie would be visually gorgeous, but the story really moved me. I think the message is so good and so powerful. However, I did not expect to be shedding tears at the end of the movie, but I was. I was really touched. I loved the relationship between Ralph and Vanellope, and how my character finally opens her heart.
You get to play a wide range of emotions with this character. Sergeant Calhoun is funny, sensitive and tough. Was that fun for you?
It was great. They gave me a great backstory where Calhoun doesn’t see vulnerability as strength, but she learns on her journey that having her heart open is not a sign of weakness. She felt so guilty about allowing the Cy-Bugs to kill the love of her life, so she committed herself to the destruction of the Cy-Bugs to make it right. Then along comes this little, sweet, open-eyed guy who she can’t allow herself to love – but of course she ultimately does.
What do you like about animation as opposed to live-action projects?
I like the obvious differences. The fact that you don’t have to wear makeup and you don’t have to dress up for the role is great. It’s just you and a guy in a dark room, which is always fun. You’re left to your imagination. I like that.
How many voiceover roles have you tackled in the past?
I did voice work for many years before I started having success as an actress. It was mostly radio and television voiceover work, but I know my way around the studio. I know how to use the cappuccino machines and the headphones. For me, this felt like coming home but in triumph because breaking through to animation is really hard if you are just a work-a-day actor. They always want celebrities.
If you could voice any animated character in the history of animation, whom would you want to voice?
Who would I want to voice? Gosh, I don’t know. I think people have done a pretty good job of them in the past. I think they have been voiced well with the likes of Mel Blanc and all those guys. They were all so good. I wouldn’t dream of trying to do better.
What are your favorite animations?
I think there is a lot of great animation out there. I love The Simpsons. I love Family Guy. I lovePhineas And Ferb. I also love the Disney classics, but The Aristocats is probably my favorite. I also loved watching The Wonderful World Of Disney on Sunday nights when I was growing up.
If you had to be stuck in a video game for the rest of your life, would you choose one of the old fashioned games or one of the new crazy new virtual-reality games?
What I love about Fix It Felix, Jr. would probably bore me after about a week. I love that you can mess things up, but then correct them with a click of the hammer. I wish I had one of those hammers in my life, not just to fix people in my life – but also to fix the faucet in my bathroom when a screw goes loose. I don’t know how to put things like that back on, but it would be great to just go ‘BING’ and have it magically fixed.
You’ve written a successful biography, Happy Accidents. Would you consider writing a new book?
I’m writing a children’s book with my wife right now, but I don’t think I’m going to write a memoir again. Then again, maybe in two years I’ll start writing Happy Accidents 2. Never say never, as Justin Bieber says.
How would you describe the children’s book you’re writing?
It’s for young kids. And right now, it’s written from the point of view of the bully.
Did you ever face bullies when you were a child?
No. I was under the radar. I protected myself and I didn’t reveal anything about myself to people. I was very sensitive to that. I stayed hidden instead of being exposed.
And finally… Why should we watch Wreck-It Ralph?
Wreck-It Ralph is a visually beautiful movie and it’s also a most moving tale. You’ll really grow to love Ralph and identify with him, as well as all of the other characters in the movie. It’s great!